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Salesian Cooperators: Zonal Conference and National Advisory Council


By Louis Kumpiluvelil SDB
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Chennai, Feb. 21. The eighth assembly of the Southern Zonal Conference of the Salesian Cooperators of India was held on 16 February 2013 at the Don Bosco Provincial House in Chennai, back to back with the meeting of the National Advisory Council on February 17. The twin events brought 39 Cooperators from ten provinces of India.
Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, the Provincial of Chennai, inaugurated the Zonal Conference on 16 Feb and explained to the participants the main elements of the ''Salesian Family Charter''. It was followed by a presentation by Fr. Stanislaus Swammikannu on ''A Call to Holiness of the Laity - 50 years after the Vatican II''.

In the post-lunch session, Fr. Noel Maddhichetty, National Delegate for Salesian Cooperators, presented the highlights of the 6th World Congress of Salesian Cooperators, held on 6 to 9 November 2012 in Rome. He briefed the members about the amendments made in the Statutes (Project of Apostolic life) of the Association by the World Congress. Mr. A. B. Bosco, Councillor in charge of Formation, spoke on the theme of ''Mary and Don Bosco''.

The meeting of the National Advisory council began with the Eucharistic celebration on 17 February. Mr. K. V. Francis, member of the World Council representing India, guided the proceedings of the day.

The NAC unanimously agreed to hold the South Asian Regional Congress in 2015 to mark the bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco. It was announced that during the Congress in 2015, the election of the World Councillor would be held and that in 2016 all the provinces would have to hold elections to choose new members to the Provincial Councils of the Salesian Cooperators. The importance of the formation of the members, particularly that of the aspirants, was highlighted during the discussions. It was agreed that for the training of those in initial formation all provinces would follow the manual ''Discerning our Call''.  

The general assembly of the Zonal Conference ordinarily meets once a year and acts as a forum for reflection, study and exchange of ideas and experiences regarding the life and mission of the Salesian Cooperators. The members of the Conference are the Coordinators, Secretaries and Administrators of each of the provinces and their SDB and FMA Provincial Delegates and the SDB and FMA National Delegates.

The National Advisory Council consists of the Provincial Coordinators of all the provinces of India, along with the Northern and Southern Zonal Coordinators, the National Formation councillor and the SDB and FMA National Delegates.

Mr. T. Aseervatham, South Zone Coordinator, organized the zonal conference and the meeting of the National Advisory Council, with the guidance of Fr. Deva Joe, the SDB Provincial Delegate and Sr. Susai Pushpam, FMA Provincial Delegate, with the full support of the Provincial Council of Chennai Province. Fr. Noel Maddhichetty moderated the discussions on both the days.  Sr. Christina Kharkonger, the newly appointed FMA National Delegate gave an inspiring message during the meeting.

The two-day programme concluded with a pilgrimage to St. Thomas Cathedral, St. Mary's Co-cathedral and the shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni at Besant Nagar. The members returned home with a resolve to pump new life into their association by enlisting new members and imparting to them a solid and systematic formation.

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